Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa City Council pares digital billboard plan

TAMPA — Digital billboards are probably coming to Tampa, but in smaller numbers.

The City Council on Thursday voted to scale back the number of billboards allowed in an ordinance proposed by city attorneys. A vote on the rules is scheduled for May 6.

The ordinance presented Thursday would have allowed Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS to install 16 billboards each on interstates and major roadways. That idea was endorsed by billboard companies and reluctantly accepted by neighborhood leaders who have fought the bright signs. The signs can change images every 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the location.

But council member John Dingfelder suggested limiting the companies to six billboards each and revisiting the ordinance in two years.

"Let's dip our toe in," Dingfelder said. "Then we can gauge the community's reaction. Because this is not just about safety; it's about aesthetics."

Council members Tom Scott, Linda Saul-Sena and Charlie Miranda supported Dingfelder's compromise.

Mary Mulhern voted against it, saying that she would rather wait to vote on any electronic billboard rules until a federal study on their safety is complete.

"There's no reason for us to make this decision now," she said. "I don't see this as a public benefit. The only people it benefits are a few large companies."

Seminole Heights resident Randy Baron, who has been among a group of neighborhood leaders fighting the proposal, said he liked Dingfelder's idea.

"In a perfect world, there would be no billboards at all," he said. "But we don't live in a perfect world."

The debate about digital billboards, which currently aren't allowed in Tampa, has dragged on for well over a year.

The city was pressed into coming up with an ordinance to settle long-running lawsuits with Clear Channel and CBS that began after the city required the companies to take down billboards to improve the look of roads but offered no options for relocation.

The companies settled the lawsuits in November. But the agreements came with the stipulation that the companies could opt out of them if the city failed to approve digital billboards.

Marilyn Healy, an attorney for CBS, said an ordinance allowing six digital signs would be enough to keep the agreement in place.

Tom O'Neill, vice president of real estate and public affairs for Clear Channel, said the proposal would need review "through our large corporate system."

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa City Council pares digital billboard plan 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.